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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Women's Retreat

Last weekend I went on a low key women's retreat with some ladies from my church. 14 of us retreated to a beautiful beach front condo near Monterrey. It was a great size group, just small enough to interact with everyone & big enough to have a funny soup of personalities. The setting was so beautiful! The house we rented was right on the beach & everywhere we turned it was a beautiful beach scene. I felt like I was drinking in the beauty & majesty & calm of the ocean all weekend.

The weekend pretty much consisted of eating, conversation, eating, down time (walks, games, shopping etc.), eating,  listen & discussing a few sermons & of course drinking a nice glass of wine... & eating. I was relaxed but a bit sick to my stomach when I returned on Sunday. Apparently after a few weeks of healthy eating, gallons of coffee & mini-cinnamon rolls did not seem to agree with me for breakfast. I do love cinnamon rolls, but they did not seem to love me back on this occasion.

As the person who is usually in charge of orchestrating most things in my life, & the lives of those around me, it was strange (in a good sense of the word) to be with a bunch of women who had everything done before I could even think to do it. Dinner was made, dishes were done, games were organized, & the trash was taken out & all I had done was talk to people. I felt a little guilty about this but I also LOVED IT!!!!

I especially enjoyed being with a few friends who used to go to our church & who now live elsewhere. It was great catching up with everyone, especially my friend Rebekah, who got married & moved about an hour away last year. Rebekah comes from a big family like I do so it took us all weekend to just to tell each other about the comings & going of all our relatives, and of course to do a little soul bearing along the way. I also got to go on a long, wonderful walk with my friend Alyce. She is more than twice my age but she is such a kindred spirit. I feel so blessed by her & it was wonderful to have unfettered time together. On this trip I had the happy realization that even though I love & admire her so much, she loves me that much too. It blew me away!

One of the interesting things I found out in my casual conversation with so many of the ladies, was how unconventional so many of their families are. From the outside we are a group of typical church-going women with our hair brushed & our nice family photos hung in our various middle class homes, but things are never that simple. As I heard more about people's lives I found out about step-children & foster kids they'd raised, neighborhood kids who had lived with them as siblings growing up, family members with mental health problems, kids they'd given up for adoption as a teenager & all other kinds of interesting family scenarios. It was beautiful to see what God has done & is doing in these women & their families as he is redeeming the broken things & bringing slow healing to all these areas.

So that was it. It was so relaxing I've been going at a little slower pace this week, which is good for me, but apparently not so good for getting out timely blogs.


Brian & Mary Hand said...

This sounds like such an awesome time. I can so relate to sometimes feeling like it's too much work to leave for a few days, but it's amazing how refreshing and refocusing a few days can be. I wish I could have taken a long walk on the beach with you . . . and talk about our "ivory bones" (remember that???). Love you!

april said...

that does sound beautiful, b: scenery, relationships, and stories

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